Martinsville II: Joe Nemechek preview

NEMECHEK ON PACE FOR CAREER SEASON MARTINSVILLE, Va. (Oct. 18, 2005) -- Despite the well-documented bad breaks that have plagued Joe Nemechek's season, the U.S. Army driver is still having a career year. With five races remaining in the...

NEMECHEK ON PACE FOR CAREER SEASON

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (Oct. 18, 2005) -- Despite the well-documented bad breaks that have plagued Joe Nemechek's season, the U.S. Army driver is still having a career year.

With five races remaining in the 2005 Nextel Cup schedule, Nemechek finds himself in new territory. His Nextel Cup standing position of 13th is a personal best at this time of the season. He is only 17 points out of 11th -- the highest position a non-Chase driver can finish.

Nemechek, whose best season finish was 15th in 2000, gained two spots in the current standings following a fourth-place result in Saturday night's race at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

"We have put ourselves in position to have a special season," said Nemechek. "The first goal was to make the Chase -- we came close, but it didn't happen. The next goal was to finish 11th and that is now within our grasp."

Nemechek will take his momentum to the short track at Martinsville Speedway for Sunday's running of the Subway 500. In the spring race at the half-mile oval he finished 10th.

"It's all about survival at Martinsville," Nemechek noted. "Judging how things have gone recently, I guess you could say that about any Cup race. You just have to race smart at Martinsville and not get overly anxious in the beginning. It's all about staying on the lead lap and being in position at the end."

Nemechek feels what has kept the 01 team from caving in to all of the misfortunes has been an ongoing positive attitude.

"There have been plenty of what ifs and we might talk about them at times, but we sure don't dwell on them," said Nemechek. "This is a team with a lot of confidence, spirit and talent. We all know that we can strike at anytime. We carry the Army creed of never accepting defeat."

After 31 races last year, Nemechek was in 19th place with 3,284 points. He is now 13th with 3,490 points.

"The improvement is not surprising because this team was starting to jell towards the end of last year," offered Nemechek. "You could feel it coming. Had it not been for a couple of bad breaks early in the season, we would be in the Chase fighting for the championship."

Nemechek suffered two DNF's in the first four races of the season -- at California and Atlanta -- two events where he was in contention to win. Since that second DNF at Atlanta on March 20, the 01 Chevrolet has finished every race.

"We might not have finished with all of the fenders on the car, but we finished and got the points," explained Nemechek. "It's remarkable how cool and collected Ryan (Pemberton, crew chief) is after an incident. He's always looking ahead, figuring out a way to salvage the race. That attitude is contagious."

-mb2m-

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Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Joe Nemechek